Is Othello A Racist Play? Essay

884 words - 4 pages

Othello - A Racist Play?Although there are lots of things to suggest this is a racistplay I don't think that racism actually dominates the play, eventhough it has a racist theme. There is a romantic union between blackand white which gets destroyed because most people think therelationship is wrong. At the time the play was written, 1604, eventhe Queen of England was racist so there must have been a stronghatred of blacks around that time.Most racist comments in the play are said by people that areangry or upset. For example, when Emilia found out that Othellohad killed Desdemona she was extremely mad and she called Othello a"Blacker devil", this was the only time in the play that she had saidanything racist about Othello. The main characters that have racistattitudes are Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo and Emilia, with the hatred ofOthello as the basis for their racist actions and comments towardshim. Iago is the most racist character in the book as he has it in forOthello right from the start. What sparks off Iago's hate towards himis the fact that when Othello chose his lieutenant , it was Cassio whowas chosen instead of Iago. What made Iago angry was the fact thatCassio had no experience in war when he did and Cassio was choseninstead of him. Iago does not say anything racist to Othello's facebut he has a lot to say against him behind his back. He schemes todestroy Othello and anything in his way including Cassio andDesdemona. The first time we hear one of his racist comments is whenhe's talking to Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona,"Even now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe".Iago says this to try and turn Brabantio against Othello. Iago usesracist comments all the way through the play, as he tries to turnpeople against Othello, for example calling him a "Barbary Horse". Henever says anything racist to Othello's face because in his plot hehad to be his best friend, so as not to make him suspicious that Iagowas causing all the trouble for him. Iago is jealous of Othello formany reasons, one being that Othello has higher ranking in the armythan him, and also he has a good marriage with Desdemona which Iagodoes not have himself with Emilia. These are the main causes of hishatred for Othello and the reason he adopts such a racist attitude.Roderigo is another one of the racist characters in the play,being so right from the start. He is Iago's accomplice and will doanything that Iago wants him to. I think he does this because of theway Iago can twist a situation to make it sound as if Roderigo wouldget something good from it but in the...

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